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Students Design a Biosecure Entry

by Kevin Janni, Extension Engineer

Engineering students are required to complete a comprehensive open-ended design project through a capstone course. This spring, three Bioproducts and Biosystems Engineering students at the University of Minnesota took on the challenge to design a biosecure entry for a turkey grower four-barn site. They were to develop and evaluate multiple designs, then select one and conduct technical, safety and economic analyses, develop design specifications that meet given or assumed constraints, and consider ethical and social issues related to the design. This is a summary of their presented design.

After evaluating multiple options and practical decisions, UMN engineering students chose to build a three-zone Danish Entry and biosecure hallway for their capstone design project.

The farmstead has four barns 60 ft wide, 512 ft long with 7 ft tall sidewalls. Each barn houses 11,000 toms. Toms are placed at about 6 or 7 weeks of age weighing 6.5 -8.8 lbs. They leave the barns at about 22 weeks of age weighing about 55 lbs each. The barn ventilating rate ranged from 15,000 to 175,000 cubic feet per minute depending on bird age and weather conditions. The team was to assume a 10% flock mortality rate. The biosecure entry was expected to have hot water for washing hands on entry and exit for up to four people at a time.

Design criteria
The team was to design a biosecure entry for changing coveralls and boots and washing hands and boots. The team decided to recommend a single biosecure three-zone Danish entry with a hallway connecting the four barns. This choice required them to design a filtered ventilating system for the biosecure entry. The entry also needed to include a system to provide hot water, and manage wastewater from hand and boot washing.

Considerations and Decisions
The team considered two-zone and three-zone Danish entry systems for each barn and one entry with a hallway connecting the four barns. They selected the hallway option with a three-zone entry. Based on cost information, the students chose a Quonset shaped building with vertical sidewalls for the new entry and hallway. The hallway had fire breaks between each barn and emergency exits. When evaluating water heaters they selected an electric tank-less product. They selected a septic tank wastewater treatment system with a bark bed drain field. The biosecure entry used a MERV 8 pre-filter and a MERV 16 HEPA filter in the ventilating system. They did not implement a double-door system that would have flushed the three-zone entry with filtered air each time the exterior door was opened to reduce the chances of bringing in airborne disease carrying particles. They used LED lighting throughout to provide 20 foot-candles in the hallway and 50 foot-candles in the three-zone entry. They selected foot operated sink and automatic soap dispensers to reduce hand contact with surfaces after putting on barn clothing.

An interesting thing about the project was the long list of incidental details that the team identified and considered before they made recommendations. It is a reminder that the devil is in the details. The biosecure entry project was a good challenge that presented the students with lots of opportunities to be creative and co
nsider numerous options.
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